Sam de Jong’s latest surrealist exploration of everyday reality is a few days in the life of a tough, confident Bronx teenager named…Goldie. Starting off in a shelter/group home, Goldie (Slick Woods in a strong debut performance), her sisters Supreme (Jazmyn C. Dorsey) and Sherrie (Alanna Renee Tyler-Tompkins) along with her mother, Carol (Marsha Stephanie Blake) all live in one room. Carol’s boyfriend, Frank (Danny Hoch) is not good for her and the children, selling drugs out of said room in the shelter, sometimes even when the younger children are there.
Goldie has a bad feeling about what her mom is doing, but is powerless to stop her. When Carol ends up getting arrested, Goldie is left to watch Supreme and Sherrie, because the alternative of turning them over to Child Protective Services scares her greatly. She goes from friend to friend, place to place to see if her sisters can stay there while she executes her grand plan.
Before Carol got arrested, Goldie’s big dream to get herself and her sisters out of poverty is to become a professional dancer, and through a friend of a friend named Jay (Khris Davis), she seems to be getting the chance. Jay’s friend is the rapper Tiny (A$AP Ferg), and he will be recording a music video soon. Goldie sees this as her big break.
“She goes from friend to friend, place to place to see if her sisters can stay there while she executes her grand plan.“
After Goldie is able to leave her sisters with her old coworker Elijah (George Sample III) one night and her former teacher, Janet’s (Edwina Findley Dickerson) another, she tries to find any way she can to get the money to buy this beautiful yellow fur coat she’s had her eye on for the entire film. In visions, she sees herself as kind of a Lil’ Kim figure, with the coat, a tiny jumpsuit, big sunglasses, and a long blonde wig. She doesn’t seem to think that she can have the successful career she desires without the coat.
Goldie is a frenetic, heart-breaking journey of a young woman trying to provide for her family while also fulfilling her dreams. It’s all too sad to see her get offered up dose after dose of hard truths when she is only 18 years old. The music video is definitely not what she thinks it’s going to be, and it reminds me of how these days, almost any kind of creative type hardly gets paid “the big bucks” until they’re at the very top and now, more than ever, it seems nearly impossible to get there. Goldie finds this out the hard way and has to make a choice for her family that would be impossible for someone at any age.
“…she sees herself as kind of a Lil’ Kim figure, with the coat, a tiny jumpsuit, big sunglasses, and a long blonde wig.”
This film is filled with bursts of color. The high energy visuals counterbalance the tragic malaise of Goldie’s life perfectly. It’s also refreshing to see a young black woman as a protagonist who actually takes agency over her and her young sister’s lives or at least does her very best to try. Slick Woods’ performance is the main reason to watch this movie, as it’s very impressive and realistic. She was the perfect fit for De Jong’s slice-of-Bronx-life film.
My only complaint is that A$AP Ferg is only in the movie for about five minutes or less because he’s one of my favorite rappers and I would’ve loved to see him get more screen time. Overall, however, Goldie is a great coming-of-age story that for once isn’t about a middle-class white person. While being somewhat depressing, it’s also kind of a perfect summer movie, just because it shows the beauty of spring and summer in New York perfectly. However, it has a similar feel and attitude as Larry Clark/Harmony Korine’s KIDS and is only slightly less sad. Don’t let that scare you away, though. It’s a really solid film.
Goldie (2019) Written and Directed by Sam de Jong. Starring Slick Woods, George Sample III, Danny Hoch, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Khris Davis, Edwina Findley Dickerson, Alanna Renee Tyler-Tompkins, Jazmyn C Dorsey, Angela Griszell, Jose Fernandez, A$AP Ferg, Ito Aghayere, Thaddeus Daniels, Ratnesh Dubey. Goldie screened at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
7 out of 10 stars